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Box office: 'Cinderella' twirls to $2.3 million Thursday night

Box office: 'Cinderella' twirls to $2.3 million Thursday night
Lily James as Cinderella in Disney's live-action version of the classic fairytale. (Jonathan Olley / Disney)

Disney's live-action "Cinderella" took in a solid $2.3 million in Thursday night showings ahead of its wide opening weekend, according to studio estimates.

The fairytale, starring Lily James ("Downton Abbey") as the titular princess, is expected to gross as much as $65 million through Sunday in the U.S. and Canada, and should easily top the weekend domestic box office.

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Its Thursday-night number came up short of "Maleficent's" $4.2 million, which kicked off a nearly $70-million debut weekend last May for the retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" starring Angelina Jolie

However, "Cinderella" managed to top pre-show numbers for Disney pictures such as "Big Hero 6" ($1.4 million) and "Oz the Great and Powerful" ($2 million).

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The Kenneth Branagh-directed film cost about $95 million to produce.

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"Cinderella" is debuting alongside Liam Neeson's "Run All Night," which cost $50 million to make and is expected to gross $15 million through Sunday. 

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Follow Ryan Faughnder on Twitter for more entertainment business coverage: @rfaughnder

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